In these articles, we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. Recently, we’ve been looking at the mediation Christ makes for his church. We saw that part of Christ’s mediation is sanctification, which is an act of God’s grace by the Holy Spirit to make Christians holy, which includes granting them repentance.
But is there anything else that the Spirit does to make Christians holy? Another act of the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work is the strengthening of God’s people.
Christians are not strong in themselves. In fact, Christians should be the first people in the world to point out their weaknesses. Christians know how completely helpless they are in their sin. They can’t save themselves, so they trust in Jesus to save them.
But despite their weaknesses as Christians, the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen them. In light of the suffering of the church, Paul says: ‘18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.’ (Romans 8:18-27).
Also, in Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus we read his prayer for the Holy Spirit to strengthen the church: ‘13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’ (Ephesians 3:13-19).
So, do you wish to be strengthened? You must come to God and ask for him to sanctify you through Christ by his Holy Spirit.